Palladian estate in Cork on the market for €2.2m
Castle Park House, Kanturk, Co Cork. Asking price €2.25m Agent: Goffs (045) 981 048
Blame it on Peter Bowles and The Irish RM, perhaps, or on Lords and Ladles, the RTE series in which the voyeurs amongst us get a good peek inside some grand old Irish piles, but there's no shortage of people sitting in perfectly fine houses in the leafy suburbs of Dublin who harbour a fantasy of selling up and moving to the countryside to live in altogether more splendid circumstances.
Life could be so much more civilised, they reckon, if only they didn't have to deal with traffic congestion and the pesky business of having to make a living.
Horsey types, in particular, will find themselves attracted to Castle Park House, located a short distance from Kanturk in Co Cork, on an elevated site looking towards Mount Hillary and in the midst of the Duhallow Foxhounds' hunting territory. The Palladian-style house is approached via a tree-lined avenue and surrounded by lawn and mature parkland planted with copper beech, oak and sycamore trees. The situation is deservedly described as picturesque.
The quality of the hunting in these parts is so revered, thanks in large part to the co-operation of local farmers, that it attracts regular visitors not just from the UK but also the US, Holland and Germany. These enthusiasts hire horses locally and boost the number of locals careering around the countryside and over the 'big banks' for which Co Cork is famous. The Duhallows also have an active pony club for younger riders and Castle Park is indeed a house that would be well-suited to a family of equestrians who would benefit from all that the area has to offer. The estate also has the potential to be developed as a breeding or training establishment.
Castle Park originally belonged to the Perceval family, the Earls of Egmont. When the 5th Earl of Egmont died in 1841, he left much of his estate, including Castle Park, to his solicitor and agent, Sir Edward Tierney, but there was evidently some disquiet at this, because the disinherited 6th Earl subsequently sued to recover the house. The case was settled out of court, but not without a significant amount of money changing hands.
Castle Park escaped unscathed during 1921, when so many big houses were torched, and has been lived in continuously ever since. It is now described by the agent, Andrew Nolan of Goffs, as being in need of restoration and a purchase price that seems almost modest when compared to, say, a large red-brick in D6, is presumably only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to returning Castle Park to its former glory. Still, it's a house with excellent bones, light-filled throughout and will no doubt become splendid again with care and devotion from new owners.
The accommodation is arranged over three floors, including a large basement, which was converted at some point into separate accommodation, presumably for staff, plus two more bedrooms, a billiard room and bathroom.
At ground-floor level, the entrance hallway leads through a fanned arch with sliding doors to the staircase hall, which is lit by a fine arched window. The two formal reception rooms are located off this staircase hall and, like the rest of the house, display intact original features, including sash windows with shutters, ornate plaster and decorative cornicing, fireplaces of marble, slate and cast iron and wide-plank solid oak floors. There is a kitchen at this level.
Upstairs, on the first floor, there are four bedrooms, fanned around an impressive oval landing with original cornicing.
The courtyard, at the rear, is a fine, cut-stone, U-shaped arrangement of buildings that require refurbishment but would lend themselves to being converted into stables. The farmyard also comes with a silage shed, two lean-tos and a four-column hay barn. The farmland - about 130 acres in total, in one tidy block - is currently leased, with 100 acres of tillage planted with crops of winter wheat and spring barley, and about 20 acres of grass, currently grazed by fattening cattle.
The nearest shops are at Kanturk, 2km away. There you'll find Jack McCarthy and his award-winning black pudding, which was recently elevated to the status of a super-food.